Software development

Microsoft bias?17 Sep

Looking through my bio, you may notice a slant towards Microsoft technologies. I will readily admit that when I do application development, I mostly use Microsoft tools. That’s because Microsoft has always done a great job getting part-time developers like myself the tools and training we need to quickly build and deploy solutions.

So what does this mean to you, a business leader at an SMB? Well, I’m not a professional software developer, and I don’t try to sell myself as one. I focus on the business processes and then I find the right technology that will enable process improvement. I need to do my work in a way that does not box me into one potential solution. After all, if you hire an Access guru, you’re going to get an Access database no matter what solution will work best.

Once I understand your processes and can help you identify opportunities, I need to be able to quickly produce solutions that meet several criteria:

  • The solution must fit in your environment with minimal additional investment,
  • The solution must be able to scale with you as your business grows.,
  • You must be able to use the solution without constantly calling me back for (billable) assistance, and
  • If you do require additional assistance, you shouldn’t have trouble finding someone to support you should I get hit by a bus or win the lottery and retire.

Here’s an example. I needed to develop a multi-user application that would read data from a database and would write information to the client’s intranet. One of my client’s main concerns was that the application operate quickly. The client has no internal IT staff, and their intention to rapidly expand the scope of the application meant that distributing an application to PCs of the users was not a great idea. The database was MS Access, and the intranet was built on Windows Sharepoint Services.

A web based solution made sense for obvious reasons. I had never gotten much real-world experience with AJAX but the ability to process transactions without full page refreshes would certainly be appreciated. In a couple hours, I had built the required pages using the ASP.NET AJAX toolkit. We are now extending this application, and what I was able to produce in those few hours has enabled the client’s staff to think completely differently about their processes. Not only that, but the client is now moving their data into SQL Server 2005 Express. This application is remaining virtually untouched.

I certainly keep my eyes open when designing a new solution. If a client already has a significant investment on a LAMP platform, I’m certainly not going to recommend that they implement Sharepoint for document management. But more often than not, I find the client already has the environment in place to support a Microsoft approach. And I know that there are 20 other people in town that can pick up right where I leave off when my numbers come up!

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Contact Me

Granite Peak Systems, LLC
PO Box 80892
Billings, MT 59108
Tel: 406-672-8292


Since 2007, I have funded a Kiva account in recognition of my clients. Whenever I get a new client, or find a microloan that relates to the industries my clients serve, I contribute to the account. You can see my lender profile here: